a home-rolled lettuce wrap over a kitchen sink

Good enough, Day 11: Too hot to be bothered

When I tell people about the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, their first reaction is usually a brief take of mock shock and/or sympathy over how terribly restrictive it is, followed immediately by a round of that game no one seems to tire of, “Can You Eat X?”

But really, the SCD, a diet for people with Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis (and, believe it or not, autism) isn’t any more restrictive than diets for people with diabetes or high cholesterol. And I’m way, way happier forgoing bread and pasta and fries than I would be suffering through them the way the folks with hypertension do—WITHOUT SALT. Sweet Jesus of Nazareth, talk about pointless.

No, after 11 years on and off of it, I can honestly say that the only place SCD really falls short is in the area of convenience. Since almost all processed foods are out—illegals like starch, sugar, and the murky “flavorings” are almost always lurking therein—you’re down to preparing most stuff yourself or finding quality places you really trust. Things have gotten far easier since the advent of the Paleo Diet, which mimics ours in many ways (and again, which I find far worse—WTF, no cheese??), but it’s still dodgy, eating out, not to mention expensive.

* * * * *

When you are literally chief cook and bottle-washer, you end up eating the same things over and over, especially when dietary needs get tricky. My prayer to the dating gods is for them to deliver me a loving chef with something to prove. Until then, I see myself sticking to the same six or seven menu items, swapping them out seasonally, or when I get bored.

For example, I went through a years-long omelet phase, varying only fillings, and only under duress. When I burned out on omelets a couple of years ago, I switched to a hard-boiled egg and a bowl of SCD-legal yogurt with seasonal fruit.

Lunch and dinner are easy in cool weather. I make big batches of soup, chili, stew, and so forth, freeze them in portions, and pull them out as needed. Even the early part of summer is fine: I make a big salad every day, and that’s that. For years, I did the Meat Blueprint Salad. This summer, I switched to greens, tuna, peppers, and avocado, dressed simply with oil and vinegar.

But when hell sets in here, usually sometime in late August, the idea of even this much prep is exhausting.

So I swing by the deli, pick up 1/2 lb. of turkey and 1/4 lb. of cheese, some romaine lettuce, and a gritty, sour mustard free of illegals, and eat these until the heat breaks. Over the sink. Quickly, so I can get the hell out and back into some library or coffee shop that’s air-conditioned.

If you’re new to the SCD, know that even deli meats usually are not safe. They are pumped full of disgusting things to make them look pretty and stay stable; they are absolutely processed foods are not part of the program of “fanatical adherence” that our beloved founder Elaine Gottschall wisely advised maintaining if you want to see results. What you can do, in this case, is track down a minimally-to-unprocessed turkey breast and roast it yourself. Roasting will heat up your kitchen like mad, but if you do it in the cool of the evening, it’s slightly less heinous. Portions freeze beautifully, and a breast will last a good long time.

There’s a lovely kind of comfort to be had, having the same things over and over. And there’s a correspondingly wonderful feeling of gratitude and delight when I get to switch things up again.

(Someone remind me of this when I have to move, okay?)


The skinny on, plus all previous 21-Day Salutes™.


  1. Not sure if you’re a quinoa fan but here’s a recipe you might like, a fresh spin on tuna casserole:

    1/4 c olive oil
    3 cloves garlic
    1/4 t red pepper flakes
    1 12oz can tuna, drained and flaked
    1TB lemon zest
    Fresh parsley
    1 box quinoa, cooked (reserve 1/4 c of the cooking water)
    Grated parmesan, to taste

    Cook quinoa as directed. While this is cooking, heat olive oil in large skillet. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, heat through–though stop just shy of the garlic browning. Add tuna, lemon zest, parsley, heat through for a few minutes. Add reserved quinoa water. Drain cooked quinoa, top with tuna mixture and parmesan, more parsley if desired. Enjoy.

    1. Mary Ellen ~
      That sounds yummy! I’m going to try it next week. :)
      I’ve got a question, though, on behalf folks in different parts of the world ~
      How much is in a “box of quinoa “? 6 oz.? 340 grams? 2 cups?
      Surely packaging isn’t uniform around the world, or across time, since quinoa is getting more popular every day!

      1. I usually get a 1lb box of quinoa, serves 4. Hope you like it…the recipe can also be made with a 1lb box of pasta but not at all right for our friend, Colleen (who in a discreet sidebar informs me that quinoa, too, is a grain.)

  2. Not sure anymore how I stumbled onto your blog, but I’m glad I did. You make me smile – and sometimes you make me laugh out loud – and I always learn something. Thanks so much for this post!

  3. The more I learn, the more I realize that food is key to (almost) everything. Civilization began not with the plow, but when we put food under lock and key. Before we started eating mostly grain, our teeth didn’t rot. Before we started industrializing food production, we didn’t suffer from as many health issues and the soil didn’t blow away. Cooking takes time, and I hate to cook. I’m an addict of convenience, a way of living offered to us in the 50’s. I’m lucky, I am only lactose intolerant and have a mild(?) allergy to beer (maybe all alcohol, but I don’t drink wine or spirits). After my son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, I had to start paying attention to food more. Then not too long ago, I did a 30 day cleanse. Ugh. My knowledge of food has grown by leaps and bounds and what I learned was disturbing. I eat better than ever but preparing good food takes time and I like to bitch about it more than actually doing it. So, like you, I eat the same stuff repeatedly. I’d wear the same clothes repeatedly too if people wouldn’t notice.

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